How To Convert a Python Web App to Mobile Apps

This article, we’ll share everything you need to know in regards to developing mobile apps with Python.

According to the TIOBE index, Python is the world’s most popular programming language. It’s widely used and widely loved in software development circles. It’s a server-side programming language that allows you to create scripts, websites and web applications, that’s great for dealing with dynamic content, databases, and user functionality in your web app or website.

But unfortunately, it can’t be used (on its own at least) to develop native mobile apps. You’ll need a whole lot more development work to make your Python app compatible with mobile operating systems, or a tool to bridge this gap for you. Read on and we’ll break it down in-depth.

Two Ways to Build Python Mobile Apps

Python is designed to generate websites and web applications. It’s not a mobile app development framework, and there’s no automatic way to translate what you’ve built with Python into native iOS or Android apps.

There are, however, options that allow you to use Python for mobile app development – meaning you retain Python as your backend architecture, while building the necessary code on the front end for your app to function on Android and iOS.

Here are the two options. We’ll look at them quickly, then explain why you should choose option #2.

  1. Create an API for your web application (if you don’t already have one), rewrite the front-end of your existing Python app in native apps from the ground up, and connect them to share data.
  2. Convert your Python web application into hybrid mobile apps that combine your web content with a native container.

The first choice is feasible, but complicated and time-consuming. Request an estimate from your team or an agency to see for yourself how much it will cost.

It will generally take a competent team months to complete a first version. Everything needs to be rebuilt, and you can’t reuse any of your existing code.

The second is much more efficient, much cheaper, and doesn’t require extensive work or hiring a mobile app development team.

We’ll dive deeper into the options for using Python to build Android and iOS apps now.

Converting a Python App to Native Apps

Python is an excellent language for doing what it’s designed to do. But it isn’t particularly known for its adaptability – and it wasn’t built with mobile app development in mind. There wouldn’t be many people with the necessary abilities who would be willing to take on such a challenge.

The initial step is to build a simple iOS and Android app capable of doing the same tasks your web frontend is handling today.

The mobile app development process, however, is long and arduous. If you manage to pull it off, you’ll have a lot of work ahead of you in terms of updating apps, keeping them up to date, and releasing new features and versions to catch up with changes in your web application.

In 90% or more of situations, this approach is simply not feasible. You’re not a computer science lab; you’re a business. You likely don’t have the budget to spend tens or hundreds of thousands developing apps for all new platforms, in all new frameworks.

Python Frameworks for Mobile?

There are some options out there that allow you to use a cross-platform Python framework to enable Python code to run on mobile.

These Python frameworks include Kivy, Beeware and PyQT. The exact details of how each work varies. But in general, they bridge the gap between Python web applications, and the code necessary for building mobile apps.

Python GUI frameworks may be easier to use than trying to learn Java, Kotlin or Swift from step one. But they still involve a lot of work, and a lot of learning if you don’t have any past experience with Python mobile frameworks.

Converting a Python App to a Hybrid Mobile App

A more efficient and proven technique can help you go to market with strong iOS and Android applications within a reasonable budget and time frame.

This implies converting your Python web application into a hybrid app, rather than a native one.

Hybrid apps mix web and native components, with “webviews” used to display online content within a native “shell”. Consider it like a dedicated browser for your web app. It can be installed on a phone or tablet, published to the App Store and Google Play, gets push notifications, and generally acts like any other mobile app.

quora native web

There are no features or UI to rebuild, because your Python web app is housed inside a native “wrapper” on iOS and Android.

This is the way to go if you just want to replicate the functionality of your web app. The only reason you’d do it any other way is if you need features that are unavailable through the web and can only be obtained through the native SDKs. These days, a web app can achieve most things a native app can do.

Are Hybrid Apps Any Good?

A simple webview loading your site, on its own, is rather limited. It’s simply a native element, a “box” with your web app running inside, obvious to users, and almost certain to be rejected by Apple.

What’s more, it’s important to provide a robust user experience by including some essential native components on top of the webview (e.g. native navigation, push notifications).

One of the most common concerns about hybrid apps is performance. However, hybrid apps today perform as well as their web counterparts.

The days of 2G internet have passed. Nowadays if your Python web application is fast and optimized for mobile, your hybrid mobile app will be just as snappy and smooth when running in a native wrapper.

Many major technology companies, and a plethora of small firms, successfully utilize hybrid apps. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the hybrid approach.

According to UX Matters: “We know that Facebook, Evernote, Instagram, LinkedIn, Uber, Slack, Twitter, Gmail, the Amazon Appstore, and many others are or have been WebView apps”.

We’ve even put together a collection of impressive hybrid app examples that you can check out.

Given their stringent demands and technical talent available, it’s remarkable that all of these companies decided on the hybrid approach.

Basecamp also went the hybrid route for their iOS and Android apps. Co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson wrote a great piece on his thought process for the project.

edupal canvas iphone
A web app, converted into a hybrid mobile app.

This is a great example of a high-quality hybrid app. From the user’s perspective, it’s like opening any native app with all of its bells and whistles.

Benefits of Hybrid Apps over Native Apps for Python Mobile App Development

Hybrid development is orders of magnitude more productive than traditional native development, but that’s just one of the advantages.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of converting your Python web application to hybrid apps.

  • Save $100k+ on a first version and cut development time by 90%, no need to hire developers or agencies.
  • There’s no need to reinvent the wheel now that you’ve done all the hard work.
  • Shared codebase for web and mobile means updating apps with new web material is much easier, and they update automatically.

Essentially, it saves a huge amount of time, money, and complexity. You need far less development work, as you can simply package your existing Python code in a wrapper that works seamlessly on mobile devices.

It’s also significantly easier to maintain, with just one main code base, rather than multiple platforms in multiple programming languages.

Is It Easy to Build Hybrid Apps?

Compared to building native apps, yes – building hybrid apps is easier.

But even if you’re technically skilled, launching any new project can be difficult.

Creating a new app from the ground up is a tough job though.

You’ll need to develop all of the native components from scratch. These are those that are distinct from your web application e.g. a native navigation menu. Everything must also be thoroughly tested and optimized.

When you’re done, make sure the app runs properly on iOS and Android, that the user interface is up to snuff, and that it will be accepted by Apple and Google. There will be bugs to resolve during development and after release.

Sounds like too much? Well, we might have the solution you need.

With just a few weeks’ time and no hassle, MobiLoud can take your web app and turn it into a full-power, cross-platform mobile app.

Why Develop Mobile Apps with MobiLoud?

MobiLoud was created to provide established businesses a quick and painless method to create mobile apps and get their app on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Unlike many other hybrid app platforms, MobiLoud is not designed for developers alone. It’s for companies that just want things done efficiently without worrying about technicalities.

However, if you do want to tinker, you can use MobiLoud’s configuration and code editor to modify the apps to your liking. We’ve designed the platform to be easy for non-technical entrepreneurs to use while still being flexible enough for expert users to expand upon.

More than 1,200 applications have been built with MobiLoud, generating millions of downloads around the world. Whatever your Python application does now on the web, it can also do on a mobile device.

How does it work? In a nutshell, MobiLoud converts your current web app into hybrid iOS and Android apps. It adds all the necessary native app UI elements, and combines everything with a service that manages the difficult aspects of publishing an app, and provides ongoing maintenance of your applications.

Our proprietary platform is based on webviews and allows us to create hybrid apps – ones that have both native and web components.

When you convert your Python web application to mobile apps, you’ll get the same capabilities and functions as the original web app.

It won’t just be a replica of your web app, though. Our platform adds the following native features:

  • Native tab bar and navigation
  • Unlimited push notifications on iOS and Android
  • Native splash screens and loading indicators
  • Push preferences and a message center to make your notifications more effective
  • Automatic ratings prompts
  • App analytics

You can control your apps from a simple dashboard — with no coding required. The applications will also update automatically as you make modifications to the web app, so all your workflows will be practically identical to what they were before.

It’s more than a tool; it’s a service. Our staff assists with the configuration and build process, and we test, prepare, and submit apps to the App Store and Google Play – guaranteeing approval.

We handle all continuing updates and maintenance after the applications are live, saving you time and money every month for the duration of your subscription.

How to Convert a Python Web App to Mobile Apps with MobiLoud

To convert a Python web app to mobile apps with MobiLoud is simple. Let’s briefly look at the process.

  1. Schedule a demo call with one of our app developers. You’ll go through the process, evaluate the options, and determine whether MobiLoud is appropriate for you.
  2. Create an account. There are no long-term obligations, and you may cancel at any time with a full refund within 60 days for any reason.
  3. Simply upload your logo and some essential information about the applications to our platform, then submit your Python web app.
  4. Our company builds your applications. In this stage, you simply wait and watch as our team creates the first versions of your apps.
  5. Log in to your MobiLoud dashboard. In a little more than a week, you’ll be able to test your apps through our dashboard.
  6. Test your iOS and Android apps on your own devices to check for any issues.
  7. After you’ve completed all of the steps in this article, your app should be ready to publish on the App Store and Google Play. This is a time-consuming procedure, but our staff has done it thousands of times and takes care of everything under developer accounts set up for you.

That’s all there is to it. MobiLoud is the fastest and most efficient way to convert a Python web application into mobile apps. You’ll have integrated all of the features and capabilities from your web app and applied them in a new way via a channel with the most effective mobile UX.

You can get your Python app to the iOS and Android platforms efficiently by outsourcing all of the hard work to us, with plans starting at $200/month.

Final Thoughts on Python App Development for Mobile

Summing up, it is possible to create mobile apps with Python – but you need something extra.

You’ll either need to rebuild your app’s frontend, and write additional code, either using an open source Python library like Kivy, or native mobile programming languages like Java or Swift.

Or, you can use MobiLoud. You won’t need to write any code, you’ll be live in less than a month, and your mobile app will work just like your Python web app does.

MobiLoud is for you if:

  • You prefer iOS and Android apps that replicate your Python web app.
  • You’re looking for a developer to handle all the challenging aspects of creating hybrid apps.
  • You want to get your product or service to market as quickly and efficiently as possible.

MobiLoud is not for you if:

  • You need features that depart from what you see on the internet and require the usage of native APIs.

Hopefully this post has cleared up everything you wanted to know about Python for mobile apps, and how MobiLoud offers a better solution than native development.

To learn more, book a demo with one of our app experts. You’ll get a personalized walk through the platform, and how it can help you.

We’re ready to assist you in converting your Python web app to mobile apps right now – all you have to do is book a demo call and get started!